My Top 7 Ways To Prep My Body For Cold and Flu Season and Keeping It Healthy Year Round
Here we are, full-fledged into autumn and getting hit left and right with advertising to get our annual flu vaccines. Let me be honest, I haven’t had a flu vaccine in nearly 10 years and I’ve not once gotten the flu. Hangovers, yes. Flues, no. And to add, I haven’t had a single symptom of the cold in two years. So, what’s the deal?
For starters, I don’t vaccinate. I know, I know. This is a touchy subject for many, but I’m a huge proponent of allowing the body to build its own resiliency to bad bacteria and viruses naturally. This means not vaccinating. Alongside all of the nasty ingredients that actually go into flu vaccines, the shots themselves don’t actually create immunity against the virus. Rather, they only create a resiliency to it. Not to mention, vitamin C has been proven since the 1950’s to outperform the flu vaccine in treating influenza. I remember the last time that I did vaccinate and guess what – I got the flu!
Once I switched to a plant-based diet two years ago, I also stopped coming down with colds and nasal infections. Prior, it was the same song and dance year after year. I’d get hit with a cold at least once, sometimes twice every “cold and flu season”. Year after year, I started noticing how weak my body felt when I got sick. It was miserable for me. Once I changed my diet I stopped getting sick. No joke! I’m a huge believer in the power of plants. Loaded with antioxidants, an abundance of nutrients, phytochemicals, and so much more. I’d like to think my body has thanked me for allowing it to detox through a lifestyle change, starting with food.
Next up, sleep. My sleep schedule was all over the place for years. I’d sleep too much or not enough. I’d sleep during the day and be up all night. It wreaked havoc on my body. With a regular sleep schedule and maintaining a solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night (sometimes 9-10 depending), I have had so much more energy and have been allowing my body to do it’s natural healing through rest. And with rest, my body can repair right down to the cellular level.
Movement, a.k.a exercise, helps me keep my body and everything inside of it healthy and strong. Movement helps the muscles and organs run more optimally and process the nourishment that you take in. Not to mention the natural high I get when my body releases all of those wonderful endorphins, which are scientifically proven to make us happier. Happier people are generally healthier and making healthier decisions. Exhibit A: taking care of thy health.
Environment plays a huge factor in the body’s overall stress response. With the fast-paced hustle and bustle of the city life, chemical cleaners on every surface of everything that we touch, and the marketing to use anti-bacterial hand cleaners everywhere, our bodies really struggle to find space to relax and not try to overcompensate for everything stressful we ask for it to work through. Of course I’m not saying don’t wash your hands after using a public restroom, although, that’s your prerogative. I am saying to calm down on how often you wash them and consider opting for less toxic cleaning products whenever possible. This goes for your house as well. Keeping it clean and tidy does many wonderful things for our health, both mentally and physically, but the types of products that you choose to use can either help or hinder.
As I mentioned previously, stress plays a huge role in helping or hindering our immunity. When we’re in a constant state of stress, we’re in a constant state of flight or fight mode. This means you’re not relaxed. Even if you think you are, you’re probably not. I used to think I was relaxed and calm until I adopted a highly sensitive dog who could sniff out bull-shit a mile away. Animals are great a reading energy and they will be the first to let you know if yours is stressful or calm.
Lastly, I want to touch on gut health. Did you know that 80 percent of our immunity is in our own gut? That’s impressive! That also means that if we really want to keep our immunity strong, we must tackle balancing our gut health and keeping it happy. Probiotics are my secret weapon in balancing out my gut. These are the good guys that you want in your gut to wipe out the bad guys and continue defending you no matter what bad bacteria comes along. And what about prebiotics; the bad guys that feed the good guys? Well, these are important, yes, and they can easily be found in foods like bananas and apples. Although, I’m convinced more people are deficient in the good bacteria.
My favorite way to get my probiotics is through food. And not just any food, but fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. Although, you can really ferment anything that you want and get all of the good bacteria. Studies have shown that fermented veggies have trillions of Colony Forming Units (CFUs) of probiotics compared to any other source of probiotics. Plus, they’re extremely cheap and easy to make yourself. And you don’t need much. Just one standard-sized dinner spoonful of fermented veg per day will give you plenty of protection.
Creating a healthy foundation from the inside out requires change, a lifestyle change. It may or may not be an overnight thing for everyone, but it’s worth the outcome of a more healthful life. You can easily and affordably create a stronger, healthier body just by changing how to you take care of it. Colds and flues will have nothing on you once you start nourishing your body differently and create a more optimal immune system!